THE Faroe Islands are, no disrespect to the opponents Scotland will face in their latest Qatar 2022 qualifier this evening, not exactly behemoths of international football like Italy, Spain or Brazil

And their tiny 5,000-capacity Torsvollur stadium in Torshavn hardly rivals the San Siro, Bernabeu or Maracana.

But if Kevin Nisbet plays for his country this evening – and the chances are he will feature at some stage with Che Adams being ruled out by injury – he will treat the outing with the same seriousness as an encounter with a former World Cup winner in one of the great arenas of the game.

Much, of course, is at stake. If Steve Clarke’s men prevail tonight and then overcome Moldova in Chisinau next month they will secure second spot in Group F and progress to the play-offs. Victory, then, is crucial.

Yet, it has taken Nisbet a long time to finally fulfil his potential and force his way into the national squad. His questionable professionalism as a youngster resulted in him spending loan spells at part-time clubs East Stirlingshire and Dumbarton. The Hibernian striker is grateful to be involved and intends do everything in his power to remain so.

“I think it was probably my attitude that was the problem,” he said. “It wasn’t what it should have been for a professional. I’ve fixed that and now I’m in the Scotland set-up and I’m playing with Hibs. I just need to keep it going.
“I think you appreciate it more when it hasn’t gone so easily. Before I took things for granted. I was the up-and-coming thing in Scottish football. Now that I’ve been down to the low levels I don’t want to go back there.
“I want to keep playing at the highest level possible. I appreciate it a lot more and treat every game like it’s my last. I’ve fought for everything I’ve got just now. If an opportunity arises then I’ve got to take it.”

Nisbet can perhaps take inspiration from the success that his Hibs team mate Martin Boyle has enjoyed with Australia since pledging his allegiance to the country of his father’s birth three years ago.

Boyle has scored three times for the Socceroos in their Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign and was on target in a 3-1 win over Oman in Doha last week that kept them on top of their Asian Football Confederation group.

“We’re good friends,” said Nisbet. “The wee man is doing brilliantly at the moment. He’s scored a few for Australia as well which is obviously helping them. I think they’ve won 11 games in a row and it’s incredible for Boyley.

“We’re really good friends off the park as well so we’re always in touch. I congratulated him on his goal the other night. He’s doing very well so hopefully he scores again against Japan (in Saitama today).
“It’s good for Hibs as well. If he keeps up that form and I keep up my form and we bring it back to club business it’s good for Hibs. It would be great if we could both get to the World Cup of course, but it’s up to us to get there first. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, but we back ourselves to do it.”

Having a forward like Nisbet who is desperate to come in to the side and prove himself will be invaluable to Scotland manager Steve Clarke this evening. He needs every one of his charges, who recorded a thrilling 3-2 triumph over Israel at the weekend, to be focused to avoid a costly slip up.  

The Faroes may be in 114th place in the FIFA World Rankings and might be in second bottom spot in the section. But Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark only beat them 1-0 on their artificial pitch. And it took them until the 85th minute to score their goal.

Nisbet, who has netted once in eight international appearances to date, is bracing himself for a difficult evening against opponents who are likely to defend in numbers and seek to grab something the counter attack. 
“They have good players and have had some decent results so we won’t underestimate anyone,” he said. “They keep the ball well and they have some good players who play at a decent level.
“It’s going to be tough. Teams who go away to the Faroes don’t win comfortably. We need to be at it from the first whistle and put some dominance in the game.
“I think you just need to keep the ball moving and keep things quick. We need to go in with the same mindset as we had against Israel. Every game now is a cup final towards the end of the campaign. You need to go in knowing you need to work hard, move the ball and give them respect because they are a good team.”
Nisbet, who made his Scotland debut in the 4-0 win over the Faroes at Hampden back in March, came on in all three of the national team’s group games at Euro 2020 this summer and is keen to experience playing in the finals of a major tournament again soon. He believes it is an achievable objective.

“It would be enormous,” he said. “This is now a group of boys who’ve been together for a long time and we’re starting to show that we are a very good team and we’re really hard to beat.

“Obviously the Euros was our first major journal entry in a long, long time and we don’t want to stop there. We want to qualify for more tournaments soon and I think this is the best group of boys to go and do that.”
Nisbet added: “The first World Cup I can remember is probably South Africa 2010. I remember South Africa scoring a belter in their first game and the great Spain team winning it. It incredible to now be a part of that.

“There’s still a long way ahead and a lot of really tough games coming up. The play-offs will be really tough if we get there. But hopefully we can do it. If I scored at the World Cup I think I would remember it – even with my bad memory.”